Please see our player page for Matt Brash to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

Happy Saturday, Razzfriends and family! To those who are first time visitors, the snake handling is perfectly normal. None of you asked (rude), but I was on vacation last week and caught an NPB game in Japan: Yakult Swallows vs. Yokohama DeNA BayStars. The BayStars are the team that Trevor Bauer “chose” (despite many reports […]

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The World Series begins Friday, meaning the MLB offseason is just around the corner. But there never really is an offseason as the action just changes from the field to the front office.

And just like the majors, there is no offseason when it comes to fantasy baseball. Fantasy baseball GMs are already thinking about next year, and that is especially true for those who are in keeper leagues.

Since the last pitch of the regular season, those who play in keeper leagues have been looking at trade targets to shore up weaknesses exposed during this past season and wondering who the top keepers are going to be in 2023 fantasy baseball.

Well, I’m here to try to help you with that last part of the sentence – who are the top keepers for next season. Each week I am going to reveal my list of top keepers for 2023, starting with relievers. Next week I will focus on starting pitchers before going around the infield and then ending with the top outfielders.


Before we move ahead, a disclaimer about relievers. The three things we know about relievers are this:

They are wildly inconsistent from year to year
They are wildly inconsistent from year to year
And they are wildly inconsistent from year to year

The inconsistent play even takes place during the season, with Josh Hader being a prime example of that. If there is one position that could use a dartboard to help with the rankings, it is relievers. Thus, these rankings are based a little on past performance, a little on the eye test and a lot of what my gut is telling me.

Unlike other positions, where age weighs in heavily for my top keepers, the age of a reliver doesn’t factor in as much. It may move them down the list if I think other relievers on the staff can become the closer in 2023 (I’m looking at you, Jose Alvarado), but if they are proven closers and also 33, I’m fine with that.

Also, I am assuming that most keeper leagues don’t just use saves but also have holds or saves+holds. A deep league doesn’t just showcase closers. A real pitching staff has starters, middle relievers and closers, so this list features top closers and setup men.

With that in mind, let’s get on with the Top 40 keepers for 2023 – reliever edition.

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Tis the season to watch the scoreboard. My own teams are fighting down the stretch, and I’m looking their way more often than necessary. I’m hoping to write a postseason piece on my processes and outcomes, but I don’t want to jinx anything by starting early. 

For fantasy tweeters, it’s victory lap season. You might’ve seen a few threads already, typically in a shape like “What’d you get right and wrong this year?” Always worth our time to review the roads that brought us here, so I’ll be hopping back to March 30 to revisit my early season Brash Predictions 2022: Prospects Edition

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Prospect News: Rankings Redux: Eury and the Henderson

In a recent post, I found myself saying Milwaukee OF Jackson Chourio was on track to be a top 50 prospect by mid-season, which got me thinking, as I should be this time of year, about updating the top 100 list. 

I made a trade offer for Baltimore SS Gunnar Henderson this week in the 20-team Highlander Dynasty League. Was just Arizona DH Seth Beer straight up, but that league is weird, with a double utility spot. Deepest hitting set-up I’ve ever played, unless I ran that math wrong way back when I half-sprinted through it just to create some context. It’s a half-step or so deeper than the Razz30, and the full-week freeze of lineups adds another wrinkle I haven’t played with a whole lot in a superdeep dynasty format.  

Also went a little overboard in trying to secure Colorado SS Ezequiel Tovar this week. 

Anyway the natural first question for most readers at this point is who’s rising the fastest, like Chourio and Tovar. Or maybe that’s just the most enjoyable question because its opposite might be equally immediate to most fantasy players: who’s feeling that baseball gravity? 

I tend to avoid the second question, if I’m honest. Players lose mind-share of course but it happens kind of quietly in the back of my mind as I build a list. Herbert Perez, is a recent player I can recall who I never really soured on in any real way. The evidence at present just didn’t support some trust-based ranking. But I’ll try to be proactive on that front and chronicle it here as I work through the list. If it’s a little dry or boring in the end, I’m hoping you just fast-forward a bit because that’s way easier with reading than it is on, say, HBOMAX. 

So who’s rising as I start building a rankings reshuffle? 

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Secretly, what no one could know, before yesterday’s game in Milwaukee, Christian Yelich hired a hitman. Did he want something done to a person? Heavens no! His fine eh eff mother raised that boy well! No, what Yelich wanted done he whispered into the ear of the hitman he hired off of Craigslist. Thanks to scouts Razzball hired, we know what was said, and by ‘scouts,’ I mean eavesdroppers. Yelich whispered, “Take this baseball bat that does me no good, and beat the shi*t out of the humidor until it no longer functions.” Yelich said the only way they’d know definitively that the humidor is busted is if Keston Hiura (1-for-4, 2nd homer) could hit it out. Job well done, Humidor Hitman! Yelich also benefited from his own mafia ties (3-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and a slam (4) and legs (3). The humidor hit was especially nice for me since two benefactors were two of my sleepers, Luis Urias (1-for-4, and his 1st homer, hitting leadoff), and the big star of the game, Willy Adames (2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 7th and 8th homer, as he hits third. That sleeper of mine makes up for my Jarred Kelenic sleeper post! *dodges tomato* It doesn’t make up for it? *dodges another tomato* Okay! Geez! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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May the Fourth was with Rowdy-D2, as he had the night, that every hitter used to have in 2019, 4-for-6, 8 RBIs and his 6th and 7th homer. Anyone who asks, I say grab Rowdy Tellez. You down to Jarred Kelenic or Rowdy Tellez and I’m Tellez who I want who I really really want. Wanna see who’s hot? Look at the 7-day Player Rater. Don’t have to scroll far down for Tellez. Wanna see a gorgeous Statcast page? Look at Tellez’s. I wrote a sleeper post last year for him, but my one caveat was: Does he have playing time? He struggled to find it; Jays shipped him off and now he won’t be denied, especially not on the planet of Tater-ooine:

Sorry, these are just so cringe that I can’t resist. Also, having a great night, and now deserves a Colt 45, was Andrew Cutchrissian (4-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs):

Okay, okay, one more, and this is the worst one, which makes it the best, Luis Chewurias:

Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Finding great pitching is always always a chore during the fantasy season. If the pitchers on the waiver wire were sure things, they would have been added during your league’s offseason draft.

But this doesn’t mean finding a good pitcher is impossible. It just means you have to study the pitchers and make an informed decision about whether a certain pitcher is just hot or is a legit add and keeper.

Two players we will look at today are Eric Lauer of the Brewers and Matt Brash of the Mariners.

Who are Lauer and Brash?

Lauer was drafted twice, once out of high school by the Blue Jays in the 17th round of the 2013 draft and then with the 25th pick of the first round of the 2016 draft by San Diego.

Lauer had a great college career at Kent State, going 23-10 with a 1.86 ERA and a K/9 rate of 11.2 while walking only 2.5 batter per nine innings. 

In the four minor league seasons, he was only 9-10, but he had a 2.85 ERA, 1.175 WHIP and still 10.2 K/9,

Brash was drafted in the fourth round out of Niagara University by the San Diego Padres. In college, Brash put up nice, but not great numbers. 

He started 29 of the 38 games he appeared in over three years, going 12-7 with a 2.97 ERA. In 190.2 innings of work, he struck out 215 hitters, or 10.1 K/9, with a 3.1 BB/9 rate.

His walk rate increased in the minors, where in 25 career games he had a 4.2 BB/9 rate but with an outstanding 13.1 K/9 rate.

So, why are they still available?

Lauer was a pedestrian pitcher his first major league three seasons, posting ERAs of 4.34, 4.45 and 6.37. But last season the lefty rebounded with a 3.19 ERA.

Fantasy owners are coming around on Lauer, at least in Yahoo leagues where he rostered on 66% of teams. However, he is only rostered in 49% of ESPN leagues.

Meanwhile, Brash is owned in only 30% of Yahoo leagues and 17.8% of ESPN leagues. While he is ranked as a Top 100 by several publications, the fact he didn’t dominate hitters in college and the minors has left doubt about him by fantasy owners.

Is that doubt about Brash correct? Is Lauer really for real?

Let’s take a look.

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NY City’s newest fantasy ace Tylor Megill combined with four other relievers Friday night to throw the first Mets no hitter since Johan Santana in 2012. It was also the first no-no of the season, and just the second for the Mets in ever! Chris Bassitt says Manfred’s balls are all messed up–yet, he and […]

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What transpired this preseason: Coolwhip reached out to me to see if I was going to write a Nestor Cortes sleeper, because he liked him and wanted to write one. I said, “Nah, I don’t think I’m going to write one, but I like him too!” What Coolwhip didn’t know, what no one could’ve known, I hadn’t looked at Nestor Cortes at all. I said I liked him because Coolwhip said he liked him. Then I waited for Coolwhip to give us his Nestor Cortes sleeper, and, after he did, I said, “Yeah, exactly, that’s what I would’ve wrote too!” Stats and image provided by Coolwhip:

“(M)ain thing to note is in 2021 Nestor started 14 games. Before that, he had only started a grand total of… (carry the 1… multiply by square root…) 2 games. 2 games, that’s it. So this was a bit of a new foray for him. It’s not often that you go from the pen to starting and your numbers improve drastically. Not just a little mind you; but by every conceivable measure, he got better. His K-rate went up, BB-rate went down, and he cut home runs in half while suppressing hard contact and limiting runners.”

Nestor did this by scrapping the sinker and curve, and replacing them with a cutter. Also, he varies his release point a lot, like nearly every pitch. I half expect him to throw right-handed occasionally. Yesterday, Nestor Cortes (5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 0.00) threw an immaculate 4th inning, and changed his release on nearly every pitch. This is magic:

In 9 1/3 IP this year, Nestor Cortes has 17 Ks. That’s in two starts, or one Nolan Ryan start. Pardon me while I put my eyes back in my head. Nestor Cortes’s 16.4 K/9, 0.96 BB/9 and -0.26 FIP is pretty good, if you’re lacking for adjectives. You really have to be impressed with Nestor so far this year, he’s looking as brilliant as me blindly agreeing with Coolwhip. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This is one of the most annoying weeks of the season to write about streamers. It’s always tough to gauge whether we should use stats from last season or build off the two weeks of stats we’ve developed this year. Understanding who these pitchers are is what really matters because that’s the ultimatum for picking […]

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